AFL Round 8 – Hawthorn v GWS Giants: Thoughts turn to Buddy’s contract

By Luke Ridgwell

The Hawks, after a very tough fixture to start their season enter the first of four byes – GWS, Gold Coast, Melbourne and the bye.  With the Hawks sitting at 6-1 and GWS coming off a massive loss to a previously ordinary Adelaide, it meant that this match was even more of a mismatch than predicted.  This day was a rare occasion, not in that it was a game in Tasmania, but that it was a sunny clear day in Launceston and a cold, miserable one in front of the TV in Melbourne.  The Hawks have already shown progression this year, overcoming rivals with Buddy out of form and two key defenders missing.  The addition of Lake has already proved an important one, with Schoenmakers out for the year and Gibson missing this one after a crude move from Goodes, which in another code would have been a straight red.

These four byes should provide Hawthorn with a great opportunity to rest some players and experiment but Clarkson didn’t feel the need to shake things up just yet, keeping all the big guns in. The signs were ugly early with the Hawks getting out to a 25-0 lead early, however GWS put in a much better effort than last week and kept the 24 point margin at quarter time.  After a career best start to the season Birchall was kept very quiet in the first quarter with a hard tag from Rhys Palmer and co, or as my girlfriend put it “why are they being so mean to Birchall?”

GWS to their credit really kept up the niggle and effort in the 2nd quarter, with Coniglio and Cameron showing their ability, but skill errors let the rest of the side down and the Hawks kicked further away.  Well led by Lewis, Shield and Mitchell the Hawks got to a 47 point lead at half time.  For Hawks fans, this was the week we hoped Buddy would get back to his best, however he still seems out of sorts and couldn’t manage a bag. Roughead on the other hand was fantastic out of the goal square, and has developed the capacity to rotate through the middle, not as a ruck like last year, but in an old school ruck rover capacity as well.

Both sides were quite sloppy after half time, again the pressure and endeavour of GWS showing – leading the tackle count 21 to 9.  Jeremy Cameron added a few more goals in the 3rd term, but was made to look better by Hawthorn debutant Matt Spangher, who got plenty of the footy but butchered it and let Cameron get out the back by himself for a few cheap goals.  The strong tag on Birchall continued successfully with just one possession in the 3rd quarter.  This season started out as a potentially career best for Birchall, but these tags have become  a real issue for him over the past few weeks.

The Hawks kicked away in the final quarter, with the underrated Gunston getting involved – at the Dogs or Crows Gunston would be one out in the square each week.  Toby Greene showed a bit for GWS, but Buddy getting into the middle and Lewis having his 11th clearance proved too much for the Giants.  Not entirely sure what Sheeds was thinking having ex-Hawk and one of the worst kicks in Gilham kicking out, twice picking out ex-team mates who duly kicked the ball straight back over his head.

Hawthorn is tracking along nicely despite some key players being out of form.  Importantly they’ve added some quality youth in Hill, Durea and Anderson – who should all get good opportunities to shine in the next two weeks.  GWS showed great endeavour today in an effort that if they replicate will trouble sides in the bottom 8.   As for the ever contentious umpiring in this one, it was just OK with the odd absolutely inexplicable free….so about as good as can be hoped for these days.

A pretty dry match report for a pretty dry game, one that will not be remembered for long.  The hawks run out 77 point winners in a reasonably scrappy encounter, and the Hawks fans spend the next 3 weeks hoping to avoid injuries and have buddy kick a bag or sign a contract.

HAWTHORN      6.1   12.7   15.10   21.14 (140)
   2.1   5.2   8.2   9.3 (57)

Hawthorn: Roughead 5, Gunston 3, Franklin 2, Burgoyne 2, Mitchell, Hodge, Shiels, Smith, Bailey, Hale, Puopolo, Sewell, Lewis
GWS: Cameron 4, Palmer, Adams, Bugg, Miles, Scully

: Mitchell, Lewis, Roughead, Burgoyne, Gunston, Shiels
GWS: Coniglio, Cameron, Mohr, Palmer, Ward, Adams

Umpires: Kamolins, Harris, Ryan

Official crowd: 10,513 at Aurora Stadium


My votes: 3 Mitchell (Haw) 2 Lewis (Haw) 1 Coniglio (GWS)

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